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Former Nomad returns to command the 33rd FW

U.S. Air Force Col. Jon Wheeler, incoming 33rd Fighter Wing commander, takes the guidon from U.S. Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th AF commander, during a change of command ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 18, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Col. Jon Wheeler, incoming 33rd Fighter Wing commander, takes the guidon from U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, commander of the 19th AF, during a change of command ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 18, 2019. This act symbolizes the transfer of command to Wheeler from U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Moga, the outgoing commander of the 33rd FW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Amber Litteral)

Former Nomad returns to command the 33rd FW

Nomads render a final salute to Col. Paul Moga, the outgoing commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing, during a change of command ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 18, 2019. Moga relinquished command to U.S. Air Force Col. Jon Wheeler, the former vice commander of the 8th FW, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Amber Litteral)

Former Nomad returns to command the 33rd FW

U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Moga, outgoing 33rd Fighter Wing commander, surrenders the 33rd FW flag to U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander during a change of command ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 18, 2019. As the ceremony’s presiding officer, Wills presented Moga with the Legion of Merit in recognition of his exceptionally meritorious conduct as a commander and transferred command of the 33rd FW to U.S. Air Force Col. Jon Wheeler, the former vice commander of the 8th FW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Amber Litteral)

Former Nomad returns to command the 33rd FW

U.S. Air Force Col. Jon Wheeler, incoming 33rd Fighter Wing commander, receives the guidon during a change of command ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 18, 2019. Wheeler comes full circle as the newly installed commander, returning to the 33rd FW almost 10 years after serving as a member of the initial cadre of F-35 instructor pilots here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniella Peña-Pavao)

Former Nomad returns to command the 33rd FW

U.S. Air Force Col. Jon Wheeler, 33rd Fighter Wing commander, salutes the wing for the first time during a change of command ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 18, 2019. Wheeler comes full circle as the newly installed commander, returning to the 33rd FW almost 10 years after serving as a member of the initial cadre of F-35 instructor pilots here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniella Peña-Pavao)

Former Nomad returns to command the 33rd FW

U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Moga (right), outgoing 33rd Fighter Wing commander, relinquishes the guidon during a change of command ceremony, at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 18, 2019. This act symbolizes the formal passing of command of the 33rd FW from the outgoing commander to U.S. Air Force Col. Jon Wheeler (far right), the former vice commander of the 8th FW, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniella Peña-Pavao)

Former Nomad returns to command the 33rd FW

U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Moga, outgoing 33rd Fighter Wing commander, addresses members of the 33rd FW during a change of command ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 18, 2019. Moga, the outgoing commander of the 33rd FW, relinquished command to Col. Jon Wheeler, the former vice commander of the 8th FW, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniella Peña-Pavao)

Former Nomad returns to command the 33rd FW

U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Moga, outgoing 33rd Fighter Wing commander, renders his final salute to Nomads, during a change of command ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 18, 2019. Moga relinquished command to Col. Jon Wheeler, the former vice commander of the 8th FW, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniella Peña-Pavao)

Former Nomad returns to command the 33rd FW

Airmen at the 33rd Fighter Wing Change of Command ceremony salute the flag during the presentation of the colors at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 18, 2019. U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Moga, the outgoing commander of the 33rd FW, relinquished command to Col. Jon Wheeler, the former vice commander of the 8th FW, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniella Peña-Pavao)

Former Nomad returns to command the 33rd FW
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U.S. Air Force Maj. General Craig D. Wills (left), 19th Air Force commander, presents the Legion of Merit to Col. Moga (right), outgoing 33rd Fighter Wing commander, during a change of command ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 18, 2019. The LOM is a military award given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of one’s duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniella Peña-Pavao)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Hundreds of Nomads welcomed a new commander to the 33rd Fighter Wing during a change of command ceremony here, Jun 18.

Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, the commander of 19th Air Force, presided over the ceremony where Col. Jon Wheeler took his place as the newest Nomad One and the wing bid farewell to Col. Paul Moga, who heads to an air staff position at the Pentagon.

Addressing Nomads, community partners and family alike, Wills lauded the 33rd FW for its continued contributions to the Air Force’s newest 5th generation fighter, the F-35 Lightning II and praised Wheeler as a ‘perfect choice’ to continue the wing’s almost 80 year legacy in air power.

“The 33rd FW has been a catalyst to improving mission readiness and modernizing our F-35,” said Wills. “These F-35’s are the oldest in the fleet but they’re ready for the future thanks to this amazing team.”

Wheeler assumed the 33rd FW’s top spot after completing a remote tour as the vice commander of the 8th FW “Wolf Pack,” Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The move reunited Wheeler with his family but also returned the command pilot to Florida’s Emerald Coast and the Nomads.

In 2010, Wheeler was one of only 10 fighter pilots selected to serve in the inaugural cadre of F-35 instructor pilots at the 33rd FW. This group led the wing’s successful transition to the world’s first F-35 fighter wing and laid the foundation for the current flying training mission that Wheeler now oversees.

"Our mission of producing the world's finest F-35 pilots, Air Battle Managers, and intelligence professionals is absolutely critical to the Air Force of the future,” said Wheeler. “The training we provide to Nomad maintainers, and the support we provide to the joint maintenance training that happens here at Eglin, will directly impact our nation's ability to produce combat power.”

In closing, Wheeler expressed his gratitude to Airmen and their families for their constant dedication and pledged to his in return.

“I thank you and your families for the sacrifices you make and will continue to make to advance the program,” said Wheeler. “I promise you that I will do my very best to continue to focus on the mission while we grow our Airmen to be better leaders…there are exciting times ahead for this wing and I am honored to be your commander for the journey to come,” he concluded.